South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day on the 21 March, a day historically linked to the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre.
On this day 57 years ago, thousands of South Africans took to the street of Sharpeville in a peaceful protest against inhuman pass laws of the apartheid regime. During the protest 69, people died and 180 were wounded when police opened fire on the congregated crowd. It has become an iconic date in our country’s history with all citizens commemorating the 21 March as Human Rights Day.
Human rights are rights that everyone should have solely because they are human. South Africa’s Bill of Rights, Chapter 2 of the Constitution entrenches the rights of all people in the country in affirming the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
Brand South Africa’s CEO, Dr Kingsley Makhubela, urges all citizens to remember the cost paid for our treasured human rights. “The recent attacks on foreign nationals are a shameful violation of human dignity. Let us not recreate the injustices of the apartheid regime through such acts. We are a nation filled with diversity in language, culture and race and it is our responsibility as citizens to strengthen our commitment to the Bill of Rights.”
23 years into our democracy South Africa is continuously improving the lives of all its citizens. As a young democracy, there are obstacles faced and these need not disintegrate the sacrifices made by of our heroes.
In the words of Nelson Mandela “To deny any person their human rights is to challenge their very humanity. To impose on them a wretched life of hunger and deprivation is to dehumanise them.” “Let us live in peace and harmony and celebrate our freedom. Let us take responsibility for our actions and work together to strength South Africa as a nation that is tolerant of one another. We commemorate Human Rights Day and take pride in knowing that because of the 1960 events our constitution is one that is highly admired by the world for its respect towards humanity,” concluded Dr Makhubela.
Issued by Brand South Africa